Add Bewitched to the long string of television shows unnecessarily adapted into big time movies. It's just so easy to recycle an old story rather than take the time to think up a new one. There is a slight difference here that makes the Bewitched adaptation better than the average one; it does try to do something a little different. Granted, nearly every television adaptation has turned out bad, so that's not saying much, but something is better than nothing. The twist here is that the film takes place in the real world, and has-been movie star Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell, Kicking & Screaming, Melinda and Melinda) wants to remake the television series as a way to relaunch his career.
Wyatt plans on tooling the show around the Darren character; in other words, around himself. He wants to play opposite a complete unknown, and discovers Isabel Bigelow (Nicole Kidman, The Interpreter, Birth) and casts her. Bigelow seems to be a natural. The reason? She's really a witch. Like Samantha in the original television series, she is a witch who wants to live like a normal person. She wants to own a house, have a job, and fall in love. So she is essentially playing herself. She also finds herself attracted to Wyatt, blurring the line between the show and her life.
The Wyatt role is typical Ferrell - semi-bumbling nice guy who eventually freaks out. He's not at his best, but nowhere near where he was for Kicking & Screaming. Wyatt only thinks of himself and Bigelow is the opposite. When she is fed up with his actions, she, as a witch, can really do something about it. It's not clear why Kidman chose this role, but then again, her choices lately have been all over the place. Michael Caine (Batman Begins, Around the Bend) and Shirley MacLaine (Carolina, Bruno) round out the cast. The cast is simply too good for the script by director Nora Ephron (Lucky Numbers, You've Got Mail), Delia Ephron (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Hanging Up), and Adam McKay (Anchorman).
There are some witch jokes, and lots of Hollywood jokes. Meanwhile, the filmmakers try to play up the alien nature of today's world for Bigelow. It's never explained exactly where she came from, but it is obvious she has some familiarity with things. She could watch television growing up, yet never opened a can of soda before. While there are some amusing points, nothing is flat out funny. Bewitched chugs along at a semi-pleasant pace until its third act, when the plot bottoms out completely. The Ephrons and McKay seemed to spend a lot of time fleshing out the background of the film, yet ran out of ideas when it came to an ending, which is probably the worst part of this film.
|Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
|1 hour, 42 minutes, Rated PG-13 for some language, including sex and drug references, and partial nudity.
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